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Thread: UV disinfection isnt working

  1. #16
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    There are two types of UV lights. Class A and B. B is half the strength of A. That is the 16,000 part in the description of the UV light here. That is why there are two wattages, 32,000 requires more watts.

    Most UV lights come with an internal flow control to limit flow hence the gpm rating. This UV light probably has one OR they are using the flow through the filter housing they are using for the UV light chamber.

    I don't like that type light, they are much less quality than SS types and sell for about the same money. They are much harder to service also because of having to screw off the sump while it is full of water and, the lamp and/or quartz can be broken easily.

    You can't blame the well construction or driller if the groundwater the well is in is contaminated....

    You can't stop bacteria contaminated water from entering the well to replace chlorine shocked water as you run/use water.

    If your well is a screened well, shocking will rarely work. Sometimes shocking doesn't work for long in a rock bore well either.

    Leaving chlorinated water sit in plumbing for more than like 20 minutes, doesn't do anything except make ya feel better. That is because chlorine is used to kill bacteria and oxidize iron, manganese, H2S etc. in the water and once used, the only type of chlorine left to kill or oxidize anything is called Free Chlorine and if you don't have from .2 ppm or more residual free chlorine, it's useless.

    Total chlorine is what you measure to get your 100 ppm or whatever strength and it is reduced by the demand (how can anyone know how much demand there is?) so you're left with Free chlorine if you had enough total chlorine to start with. Total - demand = free.

    If you shock with enough chlorine to get a strong smell in the water, you don't need to test/measure and usually should be OK, if not you need more chlorine.

    No one should use any type/form of pool chlorine. It definitely is not meant for potable water use and using crystals or pucks etc.that then lay in the bottom of a well below the pump inlet is not a good thing.

    There are FDA/EPA approved 70% chlorine pellets for potable water use that any water treatment dealer (online or local) and some pump and/or plumber supply houses sell. Maybe some big box or hardware stores too.

    To shock plumbing you need a strong non scented bleach solution to all fixtures and appliances. The best way to do that is to run the cold water at the kitchen sink into a large glass etc. as you hang your nose (don't get the water in your eyes) on the rim smelling for chlorine. When you smell it shut off the water. Then do the same at all other sinks and flush the toilet after the sink smells of chlorine. Then as you eave the last bathroom, run the hot water for 10 seconds. You will not smell chlorine in a tank type water heater system, this is to draw chlorine into the water heater inlet and tank. Then do the dish and clothes washers. You go to Fill/Start and let them fill for like 15 seconds and stop the fill.

    You let everything sit for 15 minutes and then run cold water only at each sink, cold water only, for 10 seconds and shut it off and go to the next bathroom. Wait 15-20 minutes and repeat that at all sinks, outside faucets and do it every15-20 minutes 4-5 times.

    Then or when out of chlorine solution run hot water for a few minutes and then cold water at all sinks to flush it out, flush all toilets, tubs, showers etc., put the washing machine into Rinse and let it run until it shuts itself off and don't forget the outside faucets, tubs, showers.

    Of course you can't allow the chlorine solution to weaken to the where it is too weak, or runs out, so I'd fill one of the two filter sumps of this UV light with regular non scented bleach and of course you'd remove all cartridge filters to do this.

    At home Coliform/Ecoli bacteria tests work very well IF you follow instructions.

    Take the sample as close to the well as possible and if using the boiler drain on the pressure tank, run the water from it a few seconds to flush any sediment out before collecting the sample.

    After shocking the well, using the plumbing process above, then do the plumbing again if you get dirty water from the fixtures while doing the well.

    You don't want to run shock water from the well into a septic tank system so use a garden hose on an outside faucet and put the water somewhere it won't stain anything. Unless you've been looking for a way to get out of doing flower beds etc..

    To shock the well you should use that garden hose from an outside faucet or the boiler drain valve on the pressure tank and run water back down the well for like 15-20 minutes to circulate the chlorine in the water column before running the water into the plumbing. The when the plumbing i done, use the hose somewhere to flush any chlorine out of the well.

    You should not use any chlorinated water for cooking or drinking and yhou should wait 4=7 days after shocking the system before retesting for bacteria. That is to allow time for bacteria to reenter the well if it is going to. If the shocking works, you won't find any. Or, if you test to soon you won't either but that doesn't mean the shocking solved the problem.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
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    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  2. #17

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    I know I am off topic when I say this but my tooth brush has a UV light I don't know if it is A or B or how to find out even? and
    will degrade the bladder in your tank
    is correct an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure I made the mistake of leaving high level chlorine in my vinyl pool and it did not last long. and I am sure it will do the same here.

  3. #18
    DIY Senior Member VAWellDriller's Avatar
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    I've put in a couple brands of UV and NEVER seen one that had an internal flow control. They ALL recommend installing an external flow control to prevent overrunning the unit....they tell you a flow that the unit is effective at, so you won't overload it....

  4. #19
    DIY Junior Member cilcil's Avatar
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    Yeah flow control seems necessary. They claim 15% accuracy, due to the internal membrane that adjusts. Where to buy 'em? dole seems out there, but not a lotta vendors.
    ..update: ordered a 7gpm 3/4" inline from Mcmaster.
    Last edited by cilcil; 04-11-2013 at 05:14 PM.

  5. #20
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    Last edited by Smooky; 04-12-2013 at 03:41 AM.

  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member cilcil's Avatar
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    Thanks Gary for the detailed shocking method. And Smooky thats super helpful sources, thanks.

    Is it real important to drain the water heater of all chlorinated water? It's a lot of water, and people dont drink it, so whats the harm of letting it be used up naturally?
    We do have septic, so thats one drawback. But apart from that?

  7. #22
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cilcil View Post
    Thanks Gary for the detailed shocking method. And Smooky thats super helpful sources, thanks.

    Is it real important to drain the water heater of all chlorinated water? It's a lot of water, and people dont drink it, so whats the harm of letting it be used up naturally?
    We do have septic, so thats one drawback. But apart from that?

    You should put something in your Septic tank to get the bacteria going again, with all of the chlorine that you have been using.

    The chlorine will eat at the elements and other parts in the water heater and other appliances.

    Your TDS readings may get thrown by the chlorine also.

    Why not just install a RO unit in your kitchen, or do you have one ?

    With the flow restriction you will have to deal with Low Flow issue, another UV system may have been a better choice.

    People get paranoid over a little bacteria, no wonder people get sick so easily.


    Good Luck
    Last edited by DonL; 04-12-2013 at 08:35 AM.
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  8. #23
    DIY Junior Member cilcil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    You should put something in your Septic tank to get the bacteria going again, with all of the chlorine that you have been using.
    The chlorine will eat at the elements and other parts in the water heater and other appliances.
    Why not just install a RO unit in your kitchen, or do you have one ?
    Low Flow issue, another UV system may have been a better choice.
    People get paranoid over a little bacteria, Good Luck
    Thanks for thoughts!
    Bought some septic enzyme booster bottle. I drank it all, but dont feel any less paranoid.
    RO, removes .5 micron, but don't you still need UV for coliform/e coli? Most internet pages seem to say this.
    Low flow yes, but $50 restrictor seems easier than a $500 UV firstly. Plan B is a giant UV system big enough to double as a hot water heater.
    newborn on the way, I dont mind toughening em up the old-fashioned way, but others in the house aren't so keen on this approach.

  9. #24
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cilcil View Post
    Thanks for thoughts!
    Bought some septic enzyme booster bottle. I drank it all, but dont feel any less paranoid...
    That's like the guy that was prescribed suppositories for his 'roids. He told the doctor, "For all the good it did me, I may as well have just shoved them up my ass".

  10. #25
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cilcil View Post
    Thanks for thoughts!
    Bought some septic enzyme booster bottle. I drank it all, but dont feel any less paranoid.
    RO, removes .5 micron, but don't you still need UV for coliform/e coli? Most internet pages seem to say this.
    Low flow yes, but $50 restrictor seems easier than a $500 UV firstly. Plan B is a giant UV system big enough to double as a hot water heater.
    newborn on the way, I dont mind toughening em up the old-fashioned way, but others in the house aren't so keen on this approach.

    The good RO systems have UV also.

    The enzyme booster should work after you take a shit and flush the toilet. You may be farting a lot until then.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  11. #26
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VAWellDriller View Post
    I've put in a couple brands of UV and NEVER seen one that had an internal flow control. They ALL recommend installing an external flow control to prevent overrunning the unit....they tell you a flow that the unit is effective at, so you won't overload it....
    I found those that didn't have an internal flow control to be a bit less quality and usually the class B lights. In my other post I led people to believe that the strength is either 16 or 32,000 and I should have added most class As go to 40,000.

    cilcil... I don't suggest draining a hot water tank, there wouldn't be enough chlorine in it to justify that.

    To disinfect a water heater all you have to do is raise the temp to 140f for 30 minutes to an hour, and prevent anyone from being burned. That kills all types of bacteria.

    Unless the glass lining of a water heater is broken, chlorine can not harm a water heater.

    E-coli bacteria is a serious health risk and it can not be detected by smell, taste or seen. It can make people very ill in a short period of time.

    Internal fllow controls are usually made by Dole and in the form of a washer called a button, with an engineered flow directional hole to meet the specific max gpm. They use the same buttons in their external flow controls.

    All water softener and backwashed or regenerated control valves use the same type internal flow control buttons. They, Dole, usually are very accurate because they are flexible to meet various pressures and flows up to their max rated flow.

    You probably could not disinfect/sanitize a used septic tank with bleach if you tired to. Even if you filled it with straight bleach, or hydrogen peroxide.

    And if you could, using the toilets again adds enough bacteria to start it working again anyway. just like when it was new and never used.

    RO should never be used on health related bacteria contaminated water or on water that has harmless bacteria in it such as iron. manganese or sulfate reducing bacteria.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

  12. #27
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Slusser View Post
    RO should never be used on health related bacteria contaminated water or on water that has harmless bacteria in it such as iron. manganese or sulfate reducing bacteria.

    So the Pre UV treatment before a RO unit with UV would not work ?

    If that is the case then the problem and where the contamination is coming from needs to be fixed.

    The Health Department would shut you down and make you move if it is that much of a Health problem, and they knew it.


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  13. #28
    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    If he wants to drink bacteria that is up to him, as it should be. With him having a baby is his motivation to get it fixed. Most health departments do not regulate private homes. Some lending agencies require good water samples because if you default on the loan it is hard to sell a home with a bad well. The health department may take action on a permitted or licensed facility. Most health departments do not accept UV because they want a residual such as with continuous chlorination. Some permitted places that do not have continuous chlorination, put UV in as a backup in case the well gets contaminated between samples. In those places the health department takes the sample before the UV light.

  14. #29
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smooky View Post
    If he wants to drink bacteria that is up to him, as it should be. With him having a baby is his motivation to get it fixed. Most health departments do not regulate private homes. Some lending agencies require good water samples because if you default on the loan it is hard to sell a home with a bad well. The health department may take action on a permitted or licensed facility. Most health departments do not accept UV because they want a residual such as with continuous chlorination. Some permitted places that do not have continuous chlorination, put UV in as a backup in case the well gets contaminated between samples. In those places the health department takes the sample before the UV light.

    That makes sense.

    I would boil any water for baby use.

    Maybe continuous chlorination system would be a better option.

    Or get a Waste water purifier from one of the old Space Shuttles, The Astronauts could drink their own urine after it was filtered properly. Yuck, just the sound, but it is safe and they have done it for test.


    In Texas we have flammable water, I just need a cheap way to run the automobile off of it.
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  15. #30
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    There are few to next to no ROs that have the UV as part of it as was shown in a picture here or a link.

    That type of UV/RO is point of use (POU) and most UV is sold as point of entry (POE) meaning all the water in the building is treated instead of only one faucet (the RO's). No state would allow POU to treat a bacteria contamination.

    And my comment about RO was about an RO, not one with a pre UV on it but, I wouldn't sell or use that type of RO if I had bacteria contamination.

    My experience is that many states do allow UV IF it has the options required like an auto shut off of the water flow if the light fails. Fails is based on a UV monitor that measures the specific UV light range, minimum allowed strength and the dosage required.

    I installed many UVs under PA DEP regs although they really would have preferred chlorination; UV was listed as an approved method in their regs. In most states only commercial establishments fall under state regs. Private wells usually do not.

    Most if not all states require a basic water test be passed at the time of sale. The tests are usually for Coliform bacteria, nitrates and nitrites. Today there may be more tests required in some states or specific locations.

    The FHA/VA required many more including hardness, iron, manganese, TDS, pH, sulfates, chlorides etc. etc. and treatment equipment if any were over their guidelines. Then if there was a bacteria problem, equipment to kill it and retesting proving all items were corrected before they would allow closing of the property sale. With the exceptions of bacteria, those items are the same requirements all UV manufacturers' require be treated to use UV.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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